In a pre-emptive pitch deal, Warner Bros. has acquired sci-fi thriller "Defenders," based on the upcoming novel by Hugo Award-winning author Will McIntosh.
Donald De Line ("Pain and Gain") will produce through his De Line Pictures banner, while Will Simmons ("Murder City") will write the script. WB is keeping the logline under wraps.
Lightspeed Magazine published "Defenders" as a short story in August 2011. The story serves as the basis of McIntosh's novel, which will be published by Orbit in summer 2014.
Project was brought in by De Line's recently-promoted VP Jacob Robinson, who will spearhead for the company, with WB's Niija Kuykendall overseeing for the studio.
WB-based De Line recently produced Michael Bay's "Pain and Gain," which has grossed nearly $50 million in the U.S. on a modest production budget. The company is also developing a feature adaptation of Ernie Cline's novel "Ready Player One" at Warner Bros.
Simmons' script "Murder City" was voted to the 2012 Black List of Hollywood's best unproduced screenplays. Aldamisa Entertainment is developing the crime thriller, which follows an ex-con who becomes the target of a ruthless Detroit gangster. He has also written "Romeo," a modern day take on the Shakespeare classic that casts Romeo as an undercover DEA agent who must infiltrate a Miami crime syndicate run by Juliet's father.
McIntosh's third novel "Love Minus Eighty," based on his Hugo-winning short story "Bridesicle," hit shelves on Tuesday via Orbit Books.
Simmons is repped by UTA and Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment. The Gotham Group's Michael Prevett and the Gernert Company repped McIntosh and the book rights.